|France's Richest Man Moves to Belgium and Takes Multi-billion Pound Fortune with Him 'to Avoid New Socialist Super-tax'|
The richest man in France has officially transferred his multi-billion pound fortune out of his homeland to Belgium.
Bernard Arnault, head of luxury goods group LVMH, insists he has moved his assets for ‘family inheritance reasons’.
But others are convinced that the 63-year-old has joined other tycoons and celebrities in wanting to avoid taxes – including a 75 per cent top rate on income – introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande.
Mr. Arnault applied for a Belgian passport soon after the Socialists won elections last year.
Mr. Arnault, who owns numerous homes around the world including one in London, applied for a Belgian passport soon after Mr. Hollande’s Socialists won presidential and parliamentary elections last year.
Critics immediately attacked him for leaving the country that is associated with all the brands which made his fortune - including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Guerlain, Moet & Chandon champagne and Hennessy cognac.
Nicolas Demorand, the editor of national newspaper Liberation, attacked him for ‘forgetting the country which has made him King’, adding : ‘Bernard Arnault is running the risk of fuelling suspicion about him, harming the image of his brands and weakening the employees who give them life.’
Mr. Arnault has transferred his 31 per cent stake in Groupe Arnault, the family holding that controls LVMH, to Pilinvest, a Belgian firm that he specifically set up for the purpose.
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Published on our website on February 4, 2013